“Education is not merely a privilege but a fundamental right that empowers children, shapes societies, and paves the way for a brighter future. In time of crisis, the lifesaving role of education for children cannot be underestimated but it is still under constant threat in countries plagued by armed conflict.

In 2022, over 1,160 attacks on schools and related protected personnel were verified by the United Nations in situations on the children and armed conflict agenda and the number of attacks on schools, students, and educational personnel as well as military use of schools continues to rise. In many countries across regions education has been hampered by increasing and multifaceted conflicts. It is uncontested that education and lifelong learning are key to fostering peacebuilding and sustainable development and that they can provide a protective environment to all children, boys and girls, in times of crisis.

Conflicts around the world have put an end to or have seriously obstructed access to education of millions of children, despite their right to education being firmly enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and further reaffirmed by the Sustainable Development Goal 4, UN Security Resolution 2601 (2021), and the Safe Schools Declaration.

All parties involved in conflict must refrain from actions that impede children’s access to education as required by international law. The full and unequivocal implementation by all States of the international framework is critical to protecting education.

Child victims of violence will not reach their full education and health potential, which will limit their future income, productivity and impact human capital development. Protecting education from attack and addressing the impact of armed conflict and violence on children’s education is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic necessity. We owe to children an education free from fear, violence, and threat. It is time for us all to commit to our engagement and do better and more.”, expressed the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and on Violence against Children, Dr Najat Maalla M’jid.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ariane Lignier, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, New York.  ariane.lignier@un.org

Miguel Caldeira, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Communication Officer, caldeira1@un.org